Next up in our 70th Anniversary Blog post series, is a summary of our Impact. We’ve already taken a look back at the origins of Leeds Mencap and the challenges it overcame in its establishment, we will now jump forward and explore the extraordinary impact Leeds Mencap has had in the most financial year!
Leeds Mencap is a charity that provides support to families with children and young people with learning disabilities. At Leeds Mencap, we are incredibly proud of the impact we have had over the past year! With over 2,000 attendees every year, we have directly helped over 500 families, children, and young people to be connected, get the support they need, make the most of opportunities to learn, develop and live full and active lives. In this blog post, we will highlight some of the impactful work that Leeds Mencap has done in the community, including providing opportunities to have fun, develop social and communication skills, and explore new experiences in a safe and welcoming environment.
Groups & Activities
One of our key achievements has been running youth clubs and social activities for 55 children and young people with a learning disability aged 9-25. These clubs provide a safe and welcoming space for young people to have fun, make friends, and feel supported and understood. Our specialist staff are fully trained and able to provide tailored support to ensure that all young people are able to participate fully in the activities on offer. The groups have opportunities to visit local venues in Leeds, providing them with more opportunities to explore, learn and grow independently. At Leeds Mencap, we believe that these spaces are essential in empowering young people with learning disabilities to lead full and active lives, and we are committed to providing them with the support they need to do so.
Our holiday playschemes have also continuously been a huge success, with 184 children with learning disabilities aged between 4 and 18 taking part in activities during the school holidays. We were delighted to have secured significant funding through the Healthy Holidays scheme again this year, which enabled us to provide free school meals and activities for children who may otherwise have struggled to access these during the holidays.
As well as this, we have been able to support 18 children and young people who have a sibling with a learning disability. The young people get to decide what they would like to do each week, including choosing venues to attend. Siblings often face unique challenges, and we are proud to be able to provide a supportive and understanding environment for them to connect with other young people who understand their experiences in a welcoming and supportive environment.
In addition to our youth clubs and support for siblings, we have also delivered ongoing tailored one-to-one advice, support, and guidance to 70 families. This support has been invaluable in helping parents and carers to increase their knowledge and confidence, and to ensure that their children are able to access the support and opportunities they need to thrive.
Chats & Tots
We were particularly proud to have launched our new Chats & Tots sensory play session, which was attended by 24 families with children with learning disabilities aged 0-4. This session provides an opportunity for young children to explore and develop their senses in a fun and engaging way, while also giving parents and carers the chance to connect with others who understand their experiences.
Jimbo’s Community Nursery
Leeds Mencap also runs Jimbo’s Community Nursery, which is a purpose-built nursery that offers high-quality care and early education for children aged 0 to 11 years, including after-school and holiday childcare. What makes Jimbo’s unique is that it includes a specialist playroom called Hawthorn which is for children with learning disabilities and additional needs. We have been able to support 21 children aged 0-4 in our specialist playroom, providing a safe and stimulating environment for young children with learning disabilities to play and learn.
We were also pleased to welcome a total of 875 visitors to our building over the past year, including around 300 people with learning disabilities or those supporting them. Our welcoming and inclusive space has enabled us to bring communities together and provide vital support and opportunities to those who need it most.
None of this would have been possible without the dedication of our amazing team. We are incredibly grateful to our 61 staff, 6 trustees, and 25 volunteers, who work tirelessly to make a difference to the lives of children and young people with learning disabilities and their families. We are also grateful to our supporters, including 18 trusts and foundations, 10 regular donors, 6 corporate sponsors, and 26 individual donors, whose generosity has enabled us to continue our vital work.